Now performing at the daylily inn

As is my usual habit, I took a photo walk around the garden after dinner tonight, looking for new flora and fauna that might have appeared over the course of the day. Within a minute of being out in the warm, humid air, a seemingly continuous barrage of mosquitoes descended on me — so I decided this would be more of a photo jog around the garden. The voracious bloodsuckers weren’t just thick in their normal hideouts under the red maple in the side yard or among the grasses of the back border.

I quickly scanned the southeast foundation border and saw unusual green coloration in the throat of one my red daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.). Upon closer inspection, it was a two-inch long katydid.

It appeared to be the exact same katydid I had photographed in the garden on Friday on another nearby daylily.

I’ve learned the katydids are also known as long-horned grasshoppers in the family Tettigoniidae and are a closer relative of the cricket. Many will feed on plants, but most are predatory of other insects and small animals. Entomology is an area of gardening where I have extremely limited knowledge, and I wouldn’t know where to start to identify the exact species of this particular katydid.

Since the daylily flowers were untouched, I assume the katydid was hunting smaller insects attracted to the throat of the daylily. I’ve been seeing a large number of small ants crawling in and out of the daylily flowers this year, so it would seem to be a prosperous hunting ground for a predatory insect.

Katydids are named because of the sound of their nighttime song, similar to that of a cricket. The daylilies where this katydid is hunting are right outside my bedroom window, so perhaps it’s the main midnight entertainment at my local Daylily Inn.

One thought on “Now performing at the daylily inn

  1. I just checked my daylily bed and found three flowers with katydids in them. So you may indeed be photographing more than one. My guess, too, is that they like to wait there for other insects, but so far I haven't seen them catch or eat anything, bug or plant. They're cute little things, though.

    Oh, and I'm over in Urbana!


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